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Multi Axis Slicing


ClemeH

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Posted · Multi Axis Slicing

Hello Everyone,

 

I am a researcher at the UAS Technikum Vienna and am currently investigating possibilities to enhance a large scale robotic 3D-printing station (6 DoF) with a non-planar / multi axis slicing system. Our machine is able to print objects with the size of about 3m². We use Cura for slicing the objects in a planar way.

 

Now my qeustion is, if it is possible to use Cura Slicer to slice the objects in multiple directions?

This basically means that parts of the object should be sliced in another direction compared to e.g. the begining of the object (increasing the amount of axes possible).

 

If not, would it be possible to create a pluging for cura that can enable such functionality? Maybe someone who has experience with Plugins can tell me if such an approach would even be possible with the base framework of cura.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing

    I think that the most advanced guy on this point is René Müller  aka  Spiritdude on Github. Different links hereafter on his work and concerning your subject.

     

    https://xyzdims.com/2021/04/10/3d-printing-non-planar-slicing-with-planar-slicer/

    https://xyzdims.com/tag/non-planar-slicing/

    https://github.com/Spiritdude/Slicer4RTN

     

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing
    On 1/29/2022 at 1:31 PM, ClemeH said:

    my question is, if it is possible to use Cura Slicer to slice the objects in multiple directions?

     

    No, not out of the box. CuraEngine, the actual slicer that does the calculations, only supports slicing perpendicular to the buildplate.

     

    On 1/29/2022 at 1:31 PM, ClemeH said:

    would it be possible to create a pluging for cura that can enable such functionality?

     

    Theoretically? Yes. The frontend Cura is very modular. Even the CuraEngine backend is a plugin in Cura.

     

    CuraEngine itself is not as modularly built, and does not have a plugin concept. So you would need a (fair) piece of code that does what CuraEngine does, but allows multiple slicing directions. Then a plugin could send the model to that bespoke piece of code. This piece of code could be based on Slicer4RTN.

     

    Realistically though I would say this would be fairly tricky to implement.

     

    NB: I have made a version of Cura that slices for belt-style printers (Blackbelt Cura). By jumping through lots of hoops, I managed to use the regular CuraEngine for that. But I don't see how that could easily work for true non-planar slicing.

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing
    1 hour ago, ahoeben said:

    NB: I have made a version of Cura that slices for belt-style printers (Blackbelt Cura). By jumping through lots of hoops, I managed to use the regular CuraEngine for that. But I don't see how that could easily work for true non-planar slicing.

    The same trick as that you used there can be used. The research linked before does this. The idea is to use some form of distortion matrix to transform the model in a certain way. You then slice the model (So you have flat slice paths on a deformed model). Then you perform the inverse of the distortion on the g-code to get curved paths again.

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing
    56 minutes ago, nallath said:

    The same trick as that you used there can be used. The research linked before does this.

     

    Cool, though honestly I question if trying to get the most out of a 6 DoF 3D printer with tricks like this is not at least as much work as writing a true multiplanar slicer from existing research. I would say it would make a nice PhD project.

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing
    1 hour ago, ahoeben said:

     

    Cool, though honestly I question if trying to get the most out of a 6 DoF 3D printer with tricks like this is not at least as much work as writing a true multiplanar slicer from existing research. I would say it would make a nice PhD project.

    True. If you want the most out of a printer like that, it's probably best to start off from scratch. But the results that you get from this are pretty decent, even if somewhat limited. I do think it's less work to get to something usefull out of this than it would be to write a 5-6 DOF slicer from scratch though.

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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing

    Thank you all for the replies.

    I have already done a wide research on this topic and already tested Slicer4RTN with the specs of my machine (pretty uncommon setup, 3mm nozzle, 3m² heated bed, ...) and the overall slicing works great.

     

    I have also contacted Rene Mueller for additional information.

     

    Thanks again and have a nice day you all.

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    Posted (edited) · Multi Axis Slicing
    On 1/31/2022 at 3:42 AM, ahoeben said:

     

    No, not out of the box. CuraEngine, the actual slicer that does the calculations, only supports slicing perpendicular to the buildplate.

     

     

    Theoretically? Yes. The frontend Cura is very modular. Even the CuraEngine backend is a plugin in Cura.

     

    CuraEngine itself is not as modularly built, and does not have a plugin concept. So you would need a (fair) piece of code that does what CuraEngine does, but allows multiple slicing directions. Then a plugin could send the model to that bespoke piece of code. This piece of code could be based on Slicer4RTN.

     

    Realistically though I would say this would be fairly tricky to implement.

     

    NB: I have made a version of Cura that slices for belt-style printers (Blackbelt Cura). By jumping through lots of hoops, I managed to use the regular CuraEngine for that. But I don't see how that could easily work for true non-planar slicing.

    As of now, since CuraEngine plugins are now officially supported (https://ultimaker.com/learn/ultimaker-cura-5-5-stable-release-notes/), would such a plugin now be possible to develop?

    Edited by microbears
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    Posted · Multi Axis Slicing

    The CuraEngine plugin system is fairly limited at the moment. It will likely be extended in the future, but currently I would say no, this is not yet possible with CuraEngine plugins.

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